Half of SAP users 'dissatisfied' with system performance

Half of SAP users 'dissatisfied' with system performance

Is it the software or the infrastructure to blame?

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Almost half of SAP customers (43 percent) are dissatisfied with the system’s response times across all components, according to a global survey.

Organisations said this presented serious potential financial risk to their businesses, according to a survey commissioned by testing and performance management vendor Compuware and conducted by PAC Consulting.

Interviews with senior managers at 588 companies in the UK, US, France, Germany, Italy, Belgium, the Netherlands and Spain, found forty four percent were also not satisfied with response times on the SAP web portal.

Figures differed slightly between large and small businesses for web portal response times. Among large companies with over 2,000 users, a third were not satisfied with response times compared with 48 percent in smaller firms.

The survey was not simply measuring satiasfaction with the SAP applications, however. There are a range of issues that can have an adverse affect on SAP performance, analysts said, including the age of the deployment –not detailed in the survey – and the technology infrastructure on which it runs. With SAP drawing on so much other software as well as network and server infrastructure, problems in other areas can have a significant negative impact.

The Compuware study states: “SAP software can only do the job it is designed for if the overall IT infrastructure is stable and reliable. In order to ensure that SAP technology runs effectively, everything from computing platforms to database and network connections must be running with maximum efficiency.”

Businesses running SAP often use the system as the backbone of their operations, and expressed serious concerns over the potential financial risks of SAP technical issues.

Nearly all businesses – 96 percent – warned that they faced financial risks if their SAP systems experienced performance problems. Over half said there was a “high risk” of such an event causing damage.

“In general, most companies are unhappy with their ERP environments,” said Ray Wang, chief executive at Constellation Research Group. “Slow performance, rigidity of user experience, and high cost to manage often lead the list of complaints.”  The age of the system would likely make a big difference, he said, particularly with "the agility to make changes".

“Anecdotally, I hear lots of people of complaining about their ERP systems,” agreed Georgie Lawrie, VP at analyst house Forrester. “It’s certainly an issue for them.”

But Lawrie said the other infrastructure in place, including databases and other key software, could have a major impact on performance. “It’s easy to blame the ERP vendor,” he said.

SAP offered its own performance tuning service, called MaxAttention, he noted. This is used by companies to address some of the issues raised in the survey.

David Bradshaw, research manager at analyst house IDC, said he was “not surprised” that so many people were disappointed in the performance of what is often a “large system”.

“People use systems like SAP for so much, in such complex environments,” he said. “It’s also often highly customised. There are many other systems in place and other factors that can have an impact on SAP performance.”

Of the companies surveyed, a quarter used SAP for finance or human resources, a fifth for supply chain management, 18 percent for customer relationship management and 14 percent for supplier relationship management. Other areas included e-commerce, where SAP was used by 14 percent of respondents, and business intelligence, by nine percent.

In the UK, two thirds ran SAP in-house, with the remainder using hosted or outsourced SAP.

But companies’ responses also indicated concerns around their abilities to measure system problems and remedies quickly.

Some forty percent of businesses said they couldn't detect issues in real time, and instead relied on user feedback.

Additionally, only fifty one percent said they could perform SAP troubleshooting based on rapid root cause analysis. Around half were unable to predict future SAP performance and capacity.

Compuware advised businesses to use systems such as its Vantage software to measure SAP performance. Vantage measures SAP performance across operations from the “front end to the data centre”, it said.

Half of the respondents said they planned to invest in a dedicated performance management system for SAP.

“Only with proactive performance monitoring can problems be detected early enough to provide companies with the chance to take action,” the report said, “before issues disrupt business processes.”

Tim Noble, Managing Director, SAP UK & Ireland said, “We are committed to working closely with our customers and addressing any concerns they have to ensure SAP solutions are efficient and providing benefits.”

 Noble noted that the success of any technology implementation depends not only on the software but the entire infrastructure. “This is why we created SAP Value Engineering, which is designed to really help customers achieve the most from their investments,” he added.



  • Chris Robinson One of the reasons for this lack of reliability is down to the fact that older established large SAP systems have been implemented on infrastructures that have been quickly overtaken by more powerful efficient and resilient underlying infrastructure Many older systems are relying on cumbersome Clustering technology with reactive failover technology for availability provision This does not take advantage of the more modern v VT enabled chip sets which allow for seamless and integrated virtual computing of a SAP environment along with true zero downtime provided by fault tolerant rather than reactive failover availability The result is these older platforms are less reliable fall over much more frequently than on a more modern platform and are less efficient at processing the high workload a large SAP environment requires and also as an aside much less power and hence emissions efficient also
  • Ben It all depends how much you want to spend on proper maintenance If you offshore or outsource complicated state of the art systems that have costed over a million pounds to install amp build to some cheap wage country then you get exactly what you paid for
  • Gl3ncampbell Slow and Painful - its a framework of acquired apps that are all bolted together
  • Ben As a SAP Basis contracter with 15 years experience working for large SAP custimers amp IT companies I can tell you that the majority of performance problems is caused by wrong parameter settings for the OS database and SAP systems Customers or IT providers are unaware of or simply dont follow the recommendations published by SAP in the OSS Note system And when all parameter settings are correct then 90 of problems is caused by software written by customers
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